Local history project

Part I: Research and Writing about a Historical Topic of Local Significance

Working individually or in groups of 2, students should select a local history topic of interest. The research topic should be a person, location, institution, or event with local historically significant that may not be well known outside the locality but has larger regional and/or national significance. Topics should be at least 25 years old to meet the criteria to be considered historical.

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Each student should write a 500-1000-word topic essay that discusses the national and local historical context, who, what, where, when, and why of your topic, and historical significance. In addition, this paper should address the next steps of your research by highlighting unanswered and future questions and where you might go for answers.

If working in groups, students should be varying their sources as a collaborative effort to engage in thorough research. Each student should use a combination of five primary and secondary sources and submit a working annotated bibliography in Chicago style format (see Part II for more details). As a group, make a site visit and archival visit. The site visit is necessary to grasp how your topic is currently being presented, if at all. And, the archival visit will help you develop a list of primary and secondary resources. As a group, conduct an interview with a curator at a historical site or archive and/or historian. Here are general questions to help guide your research and writing:

Ø What is the topic?

Ø Why is the topic important in national and local history?

Ø What sites are connected to the topic?

Ø How is the topic relevant outside of the community?

Ø How and where will you find information on this topic?

Ø All research should be documented in an annotated bibliography completed in Chicago Style format.

Part II: Annotated Bibliography

You have already begun writing an annotated bibliography. You will use this aspect of the project to complete a more thorough review of the research on your topic. Annotate bibliography is a list of primary and secondary sources used in your project. You do not necessarily have to list all the resources you read being that not all will be helpful, but if you use facts from a source or decide that a particular primary source will be used in Part IV, then it should be listed in the annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography has three elements to it:

1. separated alphabetically (author’s last name) into primary and secondary sources;

2. lists the bibliographically information of each resource;

3. and under the bibliographically information is a 3-4 sentence summary of what you learned from the source and why it is important for your project. That is, how does it help address your research questions and other content knowledge requirements.

Here is an example:

Primary Source: Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. 1st ed. New York: David McKay Co. Inc., 1962.

Annotation: Daisy Bates was the president of the Arkansas NAACP and the one who met and listened to the students each day. This first-hand account was very important to my paper because it made me more aware of the feelings of the people involved.

Part III: Historical Marker

A Historical Marker

To begin synthesizing research into a digestible format for the public, you and your group will create a historical marker. This marker might be submitted to the governmental agency that manages the historical markers and erects new ones upon input of the community. Your group will be provided with a template for creating a historical marker after writing 2-3 concise sentences that discuss what your topic is and why it is important to local and national history. When presenting your marker to your classmates, you will also be asked to discuss the site in which you would like this marker placed as well as any other pertinent content questions.

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